It was quite a year on the Washington beer scene. We said hello to an amazing number of new breweries. We said our sad goodbyes to some dear old friends – two of them in the same week. Seattle enjoyed an entire week dedicated to beer, as officially proclaimed by the mayor, and somehow our livers survived. The mayor did not. One of our youngest breweries was the talk of the town in Denver at the GABF, when Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen brought home four medals.
What do you remember most fondly, or most sadly, about 2009?
We’ve compiled some 2009 highlights.
- Cut palms and shake hands. In January we told you about Elysian’s plans to brew collaboratively with New Belgium (read it). The result of this collabeeration is a beer called the Trip. This is old news by now. In a few weeks (Jan. 26th) the Beveridge Place Pub will host a vertical tasting party where you can sample all five Trips (read it).
- Would not a rose by any other name smell as sweet? In February we learned that Laughing Buddha Brewing would be changing their name to Trade Route Brewing (read it). Later, in September we announced that Trade Route had moved its operation from South Park to Pacific, giving south King County beer lovers a much needed shot in the arm (read it).
- Ten versions of one beer. In March the Washington beer community celebrated the life of Bert Grant, and the 10th anniversary of the legendary cask ale bearing his name, by releasing ten different versions of Herbert’s Legendary Cask Fest Ale. There were a number of events around Seattle that showcased the different versions, including the Washington Cask Beer Festival. (read it)
- Gird thy liver! May was all about Seattle Beer Week, which actually ran from May 7th thru May 17th. There were so many events that it challenged both our time and our livers. We look forward to seeing what they come up with for Seattle Beer Week 2010. If you want a reminder of all the wonderful things that happened during SBW 2009, check our archives for May 2009.
- A Si of relief. In June we announced that publican Silas Reynolds was bringing the Porterhouse Pub to Seattle. Many Washington beer lovers were familiar with Mount Vernon’s Porterhouse Pub, but in June we learned that the Porterhouse team would be opening a new pub in West Seattle, giving Seattle yet one more truly great beer bar. They opened in August.
- Sixteen beautiful beers and two ugly ones. Also in June, we hosted the first annual Washington Beer Burcham – a celebration of Washington-made beers. At the Beveridge Place Pub, they had 18 different Washington beers on tap from near and far, representing the broad range of styles available from our local producers. At the official event, we pontificated on the virtues of drinking local beer.
- He’s kind of a big deal around here. In July, Skip Madsen (formerly of Waterstreet, Boundary Bay, Big Time, etc) introduced us to Breakaway IPA, an “instant classic” hopilicious creation. (read it) If you know nothing else about the man nicknamed “The Wookie,” you should know that he is a genius with hops. Though he does not officially have a brewery yet, he is currently getting by with a little help from his friends. (That is, making his beer at a friend’s brewery.) We recently drank his Breakaway Winter Ale and it did not disappoint. We look forward to seeing what Skip can put together in 2010.
- The new kids rock the block! Not surprisingly, September’s big news involved the Great American Beer Festival. Of course several Washington breweries won medals, but it was Chuckanut Brewing that really grabbed the spotlight when they walked away with four medals – an impressive feat for a brewery that was just barely a year old. (read it)
- Picking ’em up and putting ’em down in T-town. In October, we enjoyed the first-ever Tacoma Craft Beer Festival. (read it) This event took place in a very cool old building on the waterfront and featured a lot of great beer. It was an excellent event — very well-run, a pleasure to attend, and we look forward to doing it again next year. Great job guys!
- The new Washington Beer Commissioner. In November we told you that Eric Radovich had been named the new Executive Director of the Washington Beer Commission. (read it) The Commission made the official announcement at the WABL Anniversary Party where Eric introduced himself to the crowd. We look forward to seeing how they are able to advance the cause of Washington beer with his leadership.
New Breweries – A big story from 2009 involves the sheer number of breweries that opened, are poised to open, or are now in the works. It has been hard to keep track of them all, but we list them below in no particular order.
- Fremont Brewing (Open in Seattle)
- Pillagers (Open in Seattle)
- Black Raven (Open in Redmond)
- Odin Brewing (Seattle, unclear, but we’ve seen their beer out there)
- 7 Seas (Open in Gig Harbor)
- MT Head Brewing (Open in Graham)
- Foggy Noggin (Very near opening in Bothell)
- Airways (Very near opening in Kent)
- Palouse Falls (Open in Pullman)
- Icicle Brewing Company (Planned in Leavenworth)
- Grove Street (Open in Shelton)
- Riverport (Opened in Clarkston in 2008, but took a while for the news to reach the coast)
- Golden Hills Brewing Company (Open in Airway Heights)
- Just last week we told you about four other brewing companies that were issued liquor licenses, though we have few details about any of those. (read it)
Some breweries closed as well:
Gayl Bertagni – Co-owner and chef at the Swiss Pub in Tacoma. Gayle left us in May.
Jim Quilter – Brewer at the Ram, Iron Horse Brewing, Winthrop Brewing, and others. Jim left us in June.
Dick Young – Founder, brewer at Dick’s Brewing. Dick left us in October.
Brian Sollenberger – Co- founder and brewer at Diamond Knot Brewing. Brian left us in October.
Jay Fairchild – A friend to the industry who managed the Parkway Tavern, and also worked at Snoqualmie Falls Brewing and Aviator Brewing. Jay left us in November.